I’ll give you fair warning, right now: This post is very much on the sentimental side.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, I decided to have another try at downloading the main map from the Minecrap server, which BitBurner had generously put up on the Internet for anyone to obtain. To my surprise and delight, the Dropbox link had been enabled again, and about 35-45 minutes later, the 768MB Zip file was on my hard drive. After a little wrestling with software (the normally reliable IZArc didn’t like the file, whereas 7-Zip was more than happy with it), it was all unzipped, transferred across to the saves folder, ready to be explored again.
I dived into the long-deserted world, and found myself in BitBurner’s house in Spawn Circle. With Single Player Commands (SPC) doing its thing, I started to fly around Spawn Circle itself, seeing all the familiar buildings I’d not seen since before 1.6. I saw with dismay that some things were burning – then I reminded myself that I had no mod which prevented fire-spread, and therefore, all those quaint little fireplaces in flammable buildings were having their moment. Mind you, I did retain the Zip file, if ever it’s needed again. I moved on, not knowing the direction in which I should be heading to find Rainbow Cove again – ‘/spawn’ has a different effect in SPC than in the plug-in used on Minecrap.
After a little flying around and encountering, amongst other things, SatoriLove’s magnificent Opera House, I decided to see if ‘/home’ would work – and it plonked me right in the Information Center at Rainbow Cove. ‘Home’ was appropriate, really, considering I’d spent more time at Rainbow Cove than my actual house, and its sandstone-castle predecessor, combined. I started to look around, and fly around – something which, of course, I’d not been able to do on the Minecrap server.
And then the memories came flooding back: of a quaint little carousel ride becoming part of a massive amusement park; hundreds of Minecrafters’ hours spent expanding what became Rainbow Cove, talking, hanging out, having fun; existing friendships built upon, and new ones forged. And a wonderful little community intertwined, regardless of their location in the Minecrap server’s map or in the real-life world. While I didn’t cry outright, I did tear up a little, and certainly felt a profound sense of loss. Yes, I was right inside the map which I – and many others – had missed for so long (no offence intended to BitBurner or alefnull). But in the same way that a photograph can only capture the appearance and not the atmosphere of the subject matter, a world without its inhabitants is pretty dead and lonely.
What makes matters worse is that Beta 1.8 MAY completely ruin old world saves. There was a Twitter conversation between silly_notch (Evan Flanagan) and Jeb on July 2 which suggests the possibility:
@jeb_ Hey Jeb, when 1.8 is released will people need to create a new world to see all the new stuff or will they be added to existing saves?
@silly_notch I’m afraid they will have to start new worlds, or else there would be chunk errors
I tried to get confirmation from Jeb on the matter, on July 3, but to no avail:
So, I definitely intend to save a copy of at least 1.7.3, just in case.
Don’t get me wrong – the Minecrap community is not, to my knowledge, going away (although I freely confess that I’ve hardly been on there much since the map went away after 1.6). And yes, yes, I know the game is in Beta, so the possibility of world-breaking is present every time Mojang puts out an update. But I really miss hanging out in that particular world, because it was shaped by so many and became an amazing thing.